CD Review: Livan “Happy Returns”

livanIf anyone is going to get me to listen to anything with electronica overtones, Livan(Lie’van) is the man who can do it. I am normally repelled by music that is heavily processed and industrial, but Livan brings plenty of rock guitars and catchy riffs to keep me listening. I would liken his style to a more rocking version of Depeche Mode.

His music comes at you fast and furious, with deep and intelligent lyrics (“do your math religiously”) that pull you into his turbulent world. Livan has witnessed the hardships of addiction, politics, exile, poverty, and prison, giving him a copious amount of material to draw upon for his poetic explorations. Livan communicates his struggles with sincerity and humanity, never being preachy or assuming. Vocally, Livan has a good range, but stays predominantly baritone, sounding somewhere between two Peters: Peter Murphy and Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil.

Despite the intensity of the majority of the tracks, it is when Livan slows it down that he appeals to me most. “Where I Bleed” and “Still Around” are fantastic and have huge cross-over potential. On these tracks, Livan’s strong voice is at its most emotive and the choruses are most memorable. I would like to also call your attention to the blistering opening track, “King of the World” and the very melodic “Underground”. Many of you will also want to take note of his industrialized cover of “Shout” originally by Tears for Fears.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 4, 8, 9

Livan on MySpace. Official site.

Buy “Happy Returns” on Livan - Happy Returns - Single - Happy Returns